Wrestling Travels to Bucknell for EIWA Championships

Wrestling Travels to Bucknell for EIWA Championships

Photo courtesy of Gil Tablot.

EIWA Seeds

The Harvard wrestling team will travel to the 107th Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) Championships at Bucknell's Sojka Pavilion Match 5-6.

Schedule of Events
The 2011 EIWA Championships will take place in four sessions. Session start times are as follows: Saturday, March 5
Session 1: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. (Round of 16, Quarterfinals & Consolations, Consolations)
Session 2: 3:30 p.m. (Semifinals)

Sunday, March 6
Session 3: 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (Consolation Semifinals, Place Finals)
Session 4: 3 p.m. (Finals)

The Contenders
American, Army, Brown, Bucknell, Columbia, Cornell, Franklin & Marshall, Harvard, Lehigh, Navy, Penn, Princeton and Rutgers make up the EIWA conference.

Location, Location, Location
This is the sixth year in a row the EIWA Championship will be held in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In 2006, the tournament was held at Lehigh, it was at East Stroudsburg in 2007, at Franklin & Marshall in 2008, at Penn in 2009 and at Lehigh in 2010.

Harvard's Line-up
For the first time since November the Crimson will have 10 wrestlers in its line-up. Freshmen Joseph Marino (149 pounds), Erik Gobbo (165), Ian Roy (165) and Cameron Croy (184), sophomores Steven Keith (125) and Shay Warren (133), junior Bryan Panzano (197) and seniors Fermin Mendez (141) and Andrew Knapp (285).

Up for Grabs
The NCAA has changed the allocation process for NCAA Championship qualifiers. Each qualifying tournament was awarded spots per weight class based on current-year data Division I winning percentage, rating percentage index (RPI) and coaches ranking. The NCAA has already announced 281 of the 330 championship-field positions. The final 49 at-large qualifiers will be selected by the Division I wrestling committee and announced March 9.

The EIWA was allocated 45 qualifiers, four more than last year. Only the Big Ten Conference received more (64). NCAA automatic qualifiers will be determined by their place at the EIWA Championships this weekend. The oldest wrestling conference in the nation will have the following qualifiers: 125 (five), 133 (three), 141 (five), 149 (five), 157 (five), 165 (four), 174 (five), 184 (four), 197 (five) and 285 (four).

Wow... What a Conference
Four EIWA schools are ranked in the national top 25. In the most recent poll, Cornell is ranked first in the nation, while American is eighth, Lehigh stands ninth and Rutgers is 15th. Thirty-two individual wrestlers in the EIWA are ranked in the Intermat/NWCA/NWMA top 20. An EIWA grappler leads the nation in three weight classes: American's Steve Fittery at 157, Cornell's Cam Simaz at 197 and Lehigh's Zach Rey at heavyweight.

EIWA History
The EIWA Championships, the oldest intercollegiate wrestling competition in the country, will take place for the 107th time this weekend. Thirteen teams will compete in the two-day tournament at Sojka Pavilion.

Harvard won the team title in 2001 and has won 20 individual titles, 16 coming under Jay Weiss, the David G. Bunning Head Coach for Harvard Wrestling. The Crimson has had 154 placewinners at the event since 1930.

Team Successes
Harvard won the EIWA team title in 2001 edging out host Penn by nine points. Since then, the Crimson has finished in the top five three out of the last eight years. Harvard had its best finish since 2003 was in 2006 with a fifth-place finish and two EIWA champions.

Individual Champions
Harvard has had at least one champion in 11 of the last 13 tournaments, including two winners in 2007. Twenty Crimson grapplers in all have won EIWA crowns. Jesse Jantzen '04 is the only three-time EIWA champion for the Crimson, while Dustin DeNunzio '98, Joey Killar '00 and Dawid Rechul '02 won two titles. Louis Caputo won the 184 pound title in 2007, and J.P O'Connor earned the 157 pound title en route to the national championship crown in 2010.

Ivy League Honors
Sophomore Walter Peppelman and rookie Cameron Croy earned All-Ivy League honors last week. Peppelman was a unanimous first-team selection at 157 pounds. He is sixth in the nation with a 26-4 overall record and a 5-0 Ancient Eight mark. Croy earned a second-team nod at 184 pounds. Both were first time selections.

Thank You, Seniors
Andrew Knapp, Fermin Mendez, Michael Sadler, Jackson Salovaara and Derek Steuben make up the class of 2011. All five grapplers have been contributors for the Crimson on and off the mat. In the classroom, this group helped Harvard to the best GPA in the nation in 2010 and second best GPA in the nation in 2009. Under this class' leadership, the Crimson has become much more involved in the community, volunteering with local schools and at local homeless shelters as well as assisting in building houses and repairing churches.

Talk About Offense
Walter Peppelman leads the team in wins with 26 this season. Peppelman has scored bonus points in 16 of those 26 wins: seven wins by major decision, four by technical fall and five by fall.

Free Fallin'
Walter Peppelman has a wins by fall this season, He has picked up 12 wins in his career. Overall the Crimson has nine wins by fall on the year.

National Rankings
Walter Peppelman is ranked as high as sixth in the nation at 157 pounds.

Community Outreach
The Crimson is doing its share of community service each year. During the month of January, Harvard wrestlers volunteered with the Mission Hill After School Program to tutor residents of the Alice Taylor housing complex, a low income section of Roxbury. Earlier in the year, Jackson Salovarra '11 organized an event where Harvard went to a church near campus to help weatherize the church rectory. The Crimson spent all day insulating and closing the house up for the winter, which will save the rectory thousands of dollars in the long run. These projects are just a small sample of how this program gives back to the community.

On the Horizon
Harvard looks to travel back to the Keystone state for the NCAA Championships March 17-19 in Philadelphia.